The Mitsubishi Lancer is the UK's most reliable car of the past 15 years, according to a recent survey which surprisingly puts the Vauxhall Agila as the second most reliable of all. The Audi RS6 meanwhile is found to be the least reliable car of the same period.
The findings come from Warranty Direct which is celebrating its 15 year anniversary by studying over 200,000 live and historical customer policies made during its existence between 1997 and 2012.
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Each car involved in the policies research have been issued what they call a Reliability Index figure which is based on several factors including how often a particular car breaks down, how much it costs to repair, plus their average age and mileage.
Similar reliability surveys by Warranty Direct have been dominated by Japanese manufacturers, and in this large scale result more than half of the top ten for most reliable cars come from companies based in the Asian country.
The Mitsubishi Lancer saloon, specifically models made between 2005 and 2008 recorded the most favourable Reliability Index rating to put it top of the survey.
Warranty Direct's research found that less than one in ten Lancers broke down in any given 12 month period. When they did break, two thirds of garage visits were caused by faults with the axle and suspension.
A later generation model of the Lancer was sold in the UK between 2008 and 2010 before it was withdrawn entirely from UK dealerships. Now the only version of the Lancer still available in Britain is the performance-focused Evolution X model.
A rather unexpected entry in second place of the survey is the non-Japanese and low price city car the Vauxhall Agila, specifically models from 2000 to 2008.
The Agila is closely followed by another budget city car, the Suzuki Alto from between 1997 and 2006. Yet another city car, the Toyota Aygo from 2005 onwards, placed fourth in the most reliable table, and tied for fifth were the Honda HR-V, a compact SUV from 1998 to 2006, and the Volvo S40 family car.
The rest of the top ten is filled by the current Mazda MX-5 and Mercedes E-Class, the Toyota Yaris from 1999 to 2003, and the Honda Jazz from 2001 to 2008.
Top ten most reliable cars 1997-2012
1. Mitsubishi Lancer (2005-08)
2. Vauxhall Agila (2000-08)
3. Suzuki Alto (1997-2006)
4. Toyota Aygo (2005- )
=5. Honda HR-V (1998-2006)
=5. Volvo S40 (1996-2004)
7. Mazda MX-5 (2005- )
=8. Mercedes E-Class (2006- )
=8. Toyota Yaris (1999-2003)
10. Honda Jazz (2001-2008)
Least reliable cars
On the negative side, the Warranty Direct research also compiles the ten least reliable cars sold in the UK over the past 15 years.
Taking the unwanted honour of topping this particular list is the Audi RS6, specifically models from 2002 to 2011. The premium performance model had a far worse Reliability Index rating then the second least car, the BMW M5 from 2004 to 2011, yet another German premium performance model.
In fact the top ten least reliable car list makes in general grim reading for German premium car manufacturers.
Three Mercedes models, including the SL convertible from 2002 onwards, the V-Class large MPV from 1996 to 2004, and the Mercedes CL coupe from 2000 to 2007, fill up the rest of the top half of the list.
The rest of the top ten includes the Bentley Continental GT, a British brand car owned and powered by the German manufacturer Volkswagen, it is sandwiched by the Audi A6 Allroad from 2000 to 2005 and the Porsche 911 (996) from 2001 to 2006.
Completing the top ten for least reliable cars of the past 15 years are the Range Rover SUV from 2002 onwards in ninth, while the executive Citroen XM from 1994 to 2000 is tenth.
Top ten least reliable cars 1997-2012
1. Audi RS6 (2002-11)
2. BMW M5 (2004-11)
3. Mercedes SL (2002- )
4. Mercedes V-Class (1996-2004)
5. Mercedes CL (2000-2007)
6. Audi A6 Allroad (2000-2005)
7. Bentley Continental GT (2003- )
8. Porsche 911 (2001-06)
9. Range Rover (2002- )
10. Citroen XM (1994-2000)
Written by Stephen Goldasz